Regime Change In The Bay

Watching Draymond Green lose is always fun. Watching him lose with Willie Cauley-Stein and Deangelo Russel is less satisfying than it otherwise could be.

The Spurs won big, played DeMarre Carroll a bit, and got a little more rhythm. After five games (just five) the Spurs are not the same offensive team they were last season. They turn the ball over more,

As of Nov 2, 2019
2018-2019 season

The offensive rating is about the same but crucially, the defensive rating has improved. We wrote about progress last game, and that is the goal. It is a difficult one to achieve with so many moving parts. DeMarre Carroll played in just his first game last night. He was brought in because of his defense. Dejounte Murray is the best perimeter defender and is limited to 25m per game and did not play vs the Warriors.

That has a knock-on effect in that DeMar DeRozan is asked to play more point guard. He only took seven shots, scored only 13 but had 11 assists.

DeRozan has been able to be more aggressive attacking the defense when he has Murray and White running the offense. In this one, the aggression came from Patty Mills, taking a team-leading 16 shots and scoring 31.

In all, it is unremarkable that the Warriors have fallen so far so fast. The have so many injuries and new faces that it is not the same team that went to 5-straight Finals. It highlights how impressive LeBron’s run was, and even more impressive how the Spurs were able to maintain a level of consistency and competitiveness for 20+ years.

Green said this week “this is something (losing) that everyone except Tim Duncan has experienced”. It is true. Tim never missed the playoffs, as these Warriors will this season.

The Spurs are missing the top-five talent that the Clippers, Lakers, and probably Milwaukee have, but if things break right, they can be something like a dark horse. They have a great coach, a good system, and good-enough players. LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan are good enough players to produce Playoff calibre teams. Murray and the rest of the young guns may be just enough depth to carry the team deep.

This Warrior game was missing Murray, and he would have helped limit whatever offense the Warriors produced to make it more interesting late. He would have helped limit (maybe) Dame Lillard the other night.

Against a Jamal Murray last season, maybe a Murray lock-down defensive performance could have given SA just enough advantage to move on. The devil is always in the details and those details get refined in early November on the second night of a back-to-back.

Pop on Patty

Via Jeff Garcia’s Spurs Zone blog:

What most fans don’t understand is the impact a player has on a basketball game outside of the statistical categories such as points per game average or true field goal percentage.
It is the intangibles like leadership, grit and instinct that separates an average NBA player from a successful one.

He goes on to quote Pop from the ESPN article. I do not necessarily agree with Jeff here. What are “intangible” to us are measured in the proprietary analytics the Spurs have. They no doubt have numbers that tell them how valuable Patty Mills has been. They paid him in the offseason and while a good number of national pundits do not see the value, they know the Spurs do.

This is why we get the annual “Spurs are going to Spurs” knee-jerk analysis. We do not need him to score 15 a night, as for some reason Manu is anti-aging and putting on an every-other-night show, but we do need someone to competently run the other positions and Mills is doing just that.

FREE AGENCY

Patty Mills re-signed.

Jonathan Simmons is going to date around before he commits, and given his origins that is good. Let him go and see what the market will pay for his services and if the Spurs will match it.

Given the lack of offers for LaMarcus Aldridge and the strange trades (Paul George to OKC for nothing, Jimmy Butler to Minny for nothing, CP3 to Houston for consolation prizes) there is no obvious move that makes the Spurs significantly better. In fact, coming back with the same team keeps the Spurs’ institutional advantage that other teams mixing in new players lack.

The looming Warriors Question is unanswerable. No move outside of signing LeBron James makes any team serious contenders for dethroning Golden State. Andre Igoudala taking a peek at offers is the first crack in the dynasty-in-progress and injuries, random occurrences, and the disease of more can always happen.

LaMarcus Aldridge being anything less than 100% committed to the team is an issue, but there is no move to make at the moment. And so we wait.